A woman was fined HK$25,000 by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) on August 19 for exaggerating her achievements while promoting herself for freelance work.

Mak Wai-man, a member of the HKICPA, stated on her business card that she was a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and held a master of corporate governance degree, when in fact she was only a student member of the ICSA and was enrolled in a corporate governance course.

On social media, Mak gave the impression that she was a member of the Market Misconduct Tribunal, even though her membership was only prospective at the time. She also lied about being a member of the advisory group of the Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians (HKIAAT).

Press release dated August 31 by HKICPA. Photo: webb-site.com

The complaint came from a member rather than the HKICPA, said shareholder activist David Webb.

The HKICPA did not refer the complaint to the Disciplinary Panels after it was made, until it was forced to do so under the Professional Accountants Ordinance. Mak admitted to the complaint made against her.

A Disciplinary Committee ordered Mak to pay a penalty of HK$25,000 to the Institute, as well as the costs of the disciplinary proceedings of HK$22,436, for her “failure or neglect to observe, maintain or otherwise apply professional standards issued by the Institute.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.